Teaching others gives a good perspective on the subject that is being taught. While teaching, you not only learn more about the subject but gain a better understanding of what you already know. The same is true for teaching tennis. Over the past year, I have been able to teach a wide array of personalities, see all types of training regimens, and attitudes when it comes to tennis. All while being able to monitor kids progress and see how well they are coming along as tennis players. In this post, I will go over some of the things that I saw had the biggest impact on players performance.
Not All About Hours
While the only way to get better at tennis is to spend time training (both on and off the court), it is not necessarily about how long someone trains. The kids who had the most improvement in performance were the ones that were the most serious on the court. Not only did these kids get more out of each practice, but the other pros were more likely to help them as well. Pro’s know when kids are serious and want to get better. As a result, they tend to help those who want it the most. So the better your child’s attitude and focus are on the court, the more they will improve, the more help they will get, and the more they will get out of each practice session as a result.
When creating programs for clinics and lessons, as coaches we try to only focus on one theme or shot. For quickest results, it’s best to focus in this way. However, coaches can just do so much to try to get kids to focus on one thing. In a clinic scenario, we can only repeat over and over again what we are working on (and use drills to promote the theme) and hope the kids try to focus on it. In a lesson when we try to do stroke work or improve something, we can only hope that kids practice it outside of their lessons.
The kids who had the most improvement in performance were those who were able to focus on what was being taught. Not just through one lesson or clinic, but throughout an entire week of training sessions and play outside of clinics and lessons. The kids that were able to focus got the most out of each week and internalize all the lessons. Focusing is not an easy task and we go over a few tips in an article here.
If your child can focus on one thing for at least a week, then they will improve at a much faster rate.
Fitness Fitness Fitness
The children who took their fitness the most serious showed some of the most significant improvements in performance. The better shape someone is in, the more they can get out of practice.
First, kids can be more productive for a longer period on the court while in shape. If someone is in good shape, they will be able to play longer without getting tired. Making more of the practice productive because they can put more into it.
Kids who are in better shape also make fewer errors. During point play, if someone is in shape, they can hit more balls before getting tired. Meaning they will have more time during a point before making an error due to exhaustion. This extra time will allow them to put themselves in more winning positions and give their opponent more time to make mistakes.
I learned a lot last year by teaching and have been able to improve my own tennis game because of it. These are just a few things that I saw had the biggest impact on the kid’s games and my own.